Showing posts with label Vendée Globe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vendée Globe. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Virtual yacht race

I'm still wasting time—along with over a hundred thousand other individuals—in a fascinating Internet game: a virtual version of the Vendée Globe yacht race. At the end of my recent article entitled Everest of sailing [display], I indicated that the game's server had given up the ghost. In fact, that minor incident didn't last for long, and nobody seemed to get hurt.

Over the last day or so, I've been lucky, with relatively good winds. When I woke up this morning, my boat named Gamone was located down near Dakar in Senegal, in about the 7000th position.

Meanwhile, the leading boat, Sauvageon, was already down at the level of Guinea-Bissau. At any particular moment, on your computer screen, the software only displays a few randomly-selected yachts... seen as tiny blobs of color. Between Gamone and Sauvageon in the above display, there are some 7000 virtual yachts! To the north of my Gamone, all the way up to France, the rest of the fleet is strung out in an armada of some 93 thousand virtual vessels.

I'm very impressed by the quality of the software behind this web game, which has been developed by a French company named Many Players. [Click here to visit their website.] If I understand correctly, the virtual regatta software is based upon Flash, which happens to be the powerful tool I've been using for years in my personal websites.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Crazy and French

I think it was the English girl Samantha Davies, skipper of Roxy in the Vendée Globe race around the planet (at present in the 13th position), who said recently that there are two prerequisites for starring in this extraordinary sailing challenge. First, it helps if you're crazy; second, you have to be French.

[Click the photo to visit the Roxy website.]

I would say "intrepid" rather than "crazy". As for being French, the latest rankings certainly lend weight to that idea. The first ten yachts form a group extending over a hundred nautical miles, then there's a big gap to the remaining vessels. Of the first ten skippers, one is an Englishman from Southampton. The nine others are French, and they all reside in Brittany.

BREAKING NEWS: As of this morning, Sunday 16 November, instead of ten, there are now only five yachts within a bracket of a hundred miles. And all the skippers are Frenchmen from Brittany!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Everest of sailing

The Everest metaphor is nice, but the truth of the matter is that the number of navigators who have sailed single-handed around the globe would appear to be considerably less than the number of individuals who have scaled the world's highest mountain. In the waters off the French port of Sables d'Olonne, the 30 monohulls will hear the starting gun in exactly one hour.

This yacht race around the world can probably be considered as the toughest and most anguishing sporting event in the world.

BREAKING NEWS: I use the word "breaking" in a literal sense: Something has broken! The French TV channel 3 made an amusing free offer to Internauts enabling them to enroll as virtual skippers in a web version of the Vendée Globe. It was highly popular. Over thirty thousand virtual yachts were lined up for the start this afternoon. Unfortunately, a couple of hours after the start of our regatta, the server exploded. For the moment, our tens of thousands of virtual vessels appear to have been lost at sea a few dozen nautical miles off the French coast. For the moment, skippers have received no explanation whatsoever from the organizers of the virtual regatta, so I have no idea whether there's any possibility of our being salvaged. This disaster could well go down in virtual maritime history as the biggest sailing catastrophe of all time.

At 8 o'clock this evening, the France 3 website displayed a sad message:

Meanwhile, in the real world, the race appears to be evolving perfectly, with a dozen leaders separated by a nautical mile. Apparently there are fewer mishaps in the real world than in the virtual.